Veterans Day is celebrated every November 11th and is an excellent opportunity to honor and thank the servicemen and women who have served in every branch of the armed forces.
Jump ahead to these sections:
- Should You Say ‘Happy Veterans Day’ to a Veteran?
- How to Say ‘Happy Veterans Day’ to a Veteran In-Person
- How to Thank a Veteran on Veterans Day in a Letter or Card
- What to Write on a ‘Thank You, Veterans’ Sign or Banner
- Ideas for Expressing Gratitude to Veterans in a Social Media Post
It can be hard to know what to say besides, “Thank you for your service,” so if you need some inspiration, you’ve come to the right place!
Should You Say ‘Happy Veterans Day’ to a Veteran?
Veterans Day is a happy celebration during which each American has the opportunity to thank those who have served the nation in military service. As opposed to Memorial Day, Veterans Day isn’t a solemn occasion. Because of this, saying “Happy Veterans Day” to a veteran can be used in the same way a greeting like “Merry Christmas” or “Happy Thanksgiving” is used.
However, if you want to really encourage a veteran and thank them for their service, then coming up with something more inventive than simply saying, “Happy Veterans Day” will go a long way.
How to Say ‘Happy Veterans Day’ to a Veteran In-Person
If you spend the day with a veteran you know, whether it’s your brother, sister, cousin, or grandfather, you’ll have a unique opportunity to thank them in person for their service. Here are a few ways to say thank you.
1. “Thank you so much for serving our country the way you did. I am proud to be your friend/daughter/cousin/etc. You may not think of yourself like this but to me, you really are a hero.”
Many veterans would say they aren’t heroes, but simply did their duty as an American. Let them know how much you think of them and tell them that they’re a hero in your eyes.
2. Patriotic flowers
If the veteran you know would appreciate flowers, be sure to get a patriotic flower arrangement with red, white, and blue flowers. Include a note telling them how thankful you are for their service.
Pro Tip: Dress up the bouquet by adding a mini American flag and wrapping it in red or blue cellophane.
3. Invite them over
If you know of a veteran who doesn’t have family around or is separated from family due to distance, invite them over for a Veterans Day meal or BBQ at your home. Tell them how much you appreciate their service.
4. Donate to a vet organization in their name
If a veteran you know has an organization that is dear to them, consider donating to the cause in their name. Send them a message along with the donation notification thanking them for their service.
5. Ask them to share their stories
If you know of a veteran who would be interested in having someone listen to their stories, invite that person over on Veteran’s Day. Host a get together where they can share their stories and your friends and family can listen to an eyewitness account of history.
How to Thank a Veteran on Veterans Day in a Letter or Card
It might not always be practical to thank a veteran you know in person. If you know of a veteran you want to thank and can only send a letter or card, this next section is for you.
6. “I know I may not fully understand all the sacrifices you’ve had to make, but I can’t thank you enough for your service. I don’t take our freedoms for granted and I respect you so much for the part you played in making sure we have them.”
This is a heartfelt message that shares how you feel about their service on behalf of the country.
7. Send a letter package
Ask your friends, children, and neighbors to write thank you notes to the veteran you know. Collect all the notes and send them together in one package so they’ll have a bunch of cards to open.
8. Send a series of letters
To prolong the enjoyment of receiving letters and cards, have everyone you know write cards and letters, but instead of sending them in one package altogether, mail them one at a time, every other day. This way, they’ll have a week or two of receiving cards. They might just write you back saying, “thank you for your support.”
9. “Thank you for serving our country and helping keep us free. I respect and honor you more than you know.”
Sometimes, simply thanking someone for what they have done is all that needs to be said.
10. “You are an inspiration to me. When I think of what it means to be a hero, I think of you.”
Telling a veteran how much you appreciate their service, their sacrifice, and their contribution to America will encourage them and help them know that their sacrifice has not been forgotten.
What to Write on a ‘Thank You, Veterans’ Sign or Banner
If you’re going to a parade, or live along a parade route, make a sign to thank the veterans passing by and bring a smile to their face by showing you care. Signs and banners have a limited amount of space, so make your words count!
11. “Thank you for serving!”
This is simple and short, but to the point and will communicate your gratitude.
12. “Veterans are my heroes!”
Let the veterans that see your banner know that they’re heroes in your eyes.
13. “Land of the free, home of the BRAVE!”
America is free because of the brave. Use this to recognize the brave men and women you know.
14. “God Bless Our Vets!”
This short phrase will be deeply meaningful for veterans with a religious background to see.
15. “Our Vets are the Best!”
A sign like this is perfect for kids to hold. Even better—have your kids write it, too!
Read our guide on how to honor fallen veterans for more ideas.
Ideas for Expressing Gratitude to Veterans in a Social Media Post
Social media provides a perfect opportunity to thank veterans you know, near and far. Take some time on Veterans Day to put together a post thanking them for their service.
16. “To all the veterans of the Armed Forces… I am proud of you, I respect you, I honor you, and I thank you for your service. Thank you for keeping America free.”
Set this message to “public” on your social media account and anyone will be able to see it. People you don’t even know will appreciate these words and feel honored and respected for their years of sacrifice.
17. Post a picture
Post a picture of your child pledging to the flag, waving a flag, or doing something patriotic. Attach a message thanking the veterans you know for their service.
18. Share a video
Record yourself sharing how much it means to you that veterans served in the armed forces. Share why their service is important, what you respect about it, and personally shout out any veterans you know.
Pro Tip: Make it even more interesting by including friends or children in your message. Have each person say one thing they appreciate about veterans or personally thank someone they know. Once the video is posted, be sure to tag each veteran mentioned in the video.
19. Post a photograph
If you have a photograph with you and a veteran, post it with a message. Be sure to tell them how thankful you are for their service, how much you appreciate their sacrifice, and how much you respect them for the way they served.
20. “To [name of your veteran friend], Thank you for your example of sacrifice, service, and dedication to the nation and people you love. You are an inspiration to me.”
Use a message like this and post it directly on your friend’s social media page. If they don’t have a page, post it to yours and tag them or someone they know to ensure they see it.
21. Post a charity fundraiser
Choose a veteran organization such as AMVETs and host a fundraiser for a week starting or ending with Veterans Day. Be sure to explain why you’re hosting a virtual fundraiser, what the organization does for veterans, and why you personally appreciate their work.
22. Post messages for vets in each branch of the military
During the week leading up to Veterans Day, post messages for veterans in each branch, thanking them for their services. By thanking vets and specifically mentioning the Air Force, Army, Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard, you’ll encourage and honor vets deeply by recognizing their specific branch of service.
23. Post a patriotic GIF
Find a gif that has patriotic elements or a thank you message. Sometimes, a GIF can speak for you if you don’t know what else to say.
Pro Tip: Search GIFs for each branch of the military to find the right message. If you’re thanking a specific individual, find a gif that highlights the branch they served in to personalize your thank you message.
24. “To each veteran I know [tag veterans here], thank you for your sacrifice. America wouldn’t be what it is without you.”
Tag the veterans you know in this message for a quick way to honor them.
25. “Happy Veterans Day to each service member in the armed forces. It’s because of you that each of us can enjoy safety and freedom. God bless each one of you and God bless America.”
This simple message shares the reason why veterans should be honored and respected—their sacrifice for our freedoms.
Honor the Heroes You Know
When Veterans Day rolls around each year, take the opportunity to honor a vet you know. Don’t let time pass you by until it’s too late to thank them. If you’re still finding it hard to figure out what to say, just remember that it’s always the thought that counts—and your friend will know when you are sincerely grateful for their sacrifice.